Tag: prepping

I Wasn’t Prepared

Waaaay back, in another life, I was on a search and rescue team. I’m pretty sure every rescue we went out on was for hikers who were completely unprepared. They didn’t tell anyone where they were going. They didn’t bring any gear or clothing appropriate to the situation. They didn’t have a map. 98% of the time these folks would have been just fine. But every once in a while, the stars lined up and the gods decided to mix things up. A sprained ankle. Ran out of water. Took the wrong trail. The weather took a nasty turn. Nightfall came faster than expected. Suddenly these hapless hikers would be facing a cold overnight stay and cell phones that were dead or out of range. Being better prepared doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay out of trouble. But when trouble comes knocking, you’ll have a better chance of a good outcome.

As you can imagine, I’d generally go a bit overboard with my survival prep back in those days. It would have been a tad embarrassing for a search and rescue guy to get lost and have to be rescued. The team had plenty of gear standards and constantly did pack inspections to ensure everyone was squared away. As the training officer, I had to lead by example so even a simple hour-long hike somewhere required taking a ridiculous amount of gear.

Now that I’m back in the real world and many years removed from those days, my survival prep is considerably scaled back. My approach is to think about the worst possible scenario and make sure I can survive that. I probably get a bit too casual about it at times, much to Mrs Troutdog’s consternation, but I generally believe I’m a pretty safe outdoorsman. (knock on wood)

Yesterday I pulled my smaller dual-sport motorcycle out of winter hibernation and got ready for its first ride of the season. I had to put the battery back in and decided it would be wise to use the tools I carry on the bike, just to be sure I could do it in the field if I had to. Look at how smart I am!

I pulled the tool roll out, unfolded it and… there was almost nothing in it. The wrenches I had were the wrong size for the bike. No Allen keys. The butt of a screwdriver but no bits. What the hell? I have no idea what happened. I honestly couldn’t remember if I’d had everything in there at one time and then cannibalized it for something else? Maybe I’d started putting a tool kit together and then forgot it wasn’t done? Perhaps the sock stealing gremlin snuck into the garage and stole my tools?

Regardless, I’ve been riding around without the ability to fix anything. Had something happened out on the trail I couldn’t have done anything other than hike out. I couldn’t even have changed a tube if I got a puncture. I got lucky.

So now I’m putting together a proper tool kit for that bike. Seeing that it’s spring, it’s a perfect time to go through all my gear and make sure everything is dialed in. Bikes, motorcycles, hiking gear, trail running, fishing stuff. I should probably also go through my vehicle survival bag and repair kit.

How crazy do you need to go with prepping? I think it depends on your skillset for that activity. But generally, I think the right attitude to adopt is: Assume no one is coming. Expect to self-rescue and prepare accordingly.

We all need a reminder from time to time that mechanical things can and do break down. Shit happens. Fortunately my reminder came while I was still in the garage.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The Professor and Mary Ann,*
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

I Don’t Know The Answer

  • The one thing that stands out for me about this moment in history is that nobody knows who to listen to. There’s approximately 1.27 million opinions, from experts to hucksters, on every single subject. How is the average person supposed to figure out the right answer about anything? For example, based upon some random crap I read on the internet I decided it wouldn’t be a bad thing to start adding vitamin D3 and Zinc to my system. But how much? The dosage on the bottle says 2,000 iu a day. One doctor I read says you need at least 20,000 a day. Another says start with 10,000 a day for two weeks and then 5,000 iu daily as maintenance. How are you supposed to know? I think this quote from Eric Weinstein says it all. He’s probably one of the smartest humans on the planet. PhD in mathematical physics, managing director of Thiel Capital, and founder of the intellectual dark web… “I have not been able to understand our experts explaining what is going on with either the virus, its origins, our masks, our vaccines, or vaccine alternatives. I admit it: I totally can’t grasp our experts on COVID.” If he can’t figure it out, how are the rest of us supposed to? What a mess.

  • Our supply chain is in crisis mode. I’m not sure people fully grasp how bad the current scenario is. Literally every product and component we consume is at risk. Car dealership lots are empty. Appliances can’t be found. Bike shops are out of bike tubes and tires. A local pizza shop owner is wrapping to-go pizza in foil because he can’t get cardboard boxes. He *thinks* he’ll survive the winter because he pre-purchased flour and other baking supplies. The LA and Long Beach ports are seeing record congestion. Currently there are 97 massive cargo ships anchored offshore, waiting for a slot to unload. Retailers are panicking about the Christmas shopping season, as they may have empty shelves. If manufacturing components aren’t available, layoffs start and businesses go under. Will things straighten themselves out eventually? Hopefully. But it wouldn’t take much to knock down this house of cards. Meanwhile, I went to Costco the other day. Every single cart I saw was loaded up with the ginormous package of toilet paper and paper towels. They are now back to limiting purchase to one per customer. I still don’t understand what it is about hoarding toilet paper… but better go get you some.

  • I have an acquaintance who knows I briefly contemplated buying a drone. He frequently sends me drone related info and shares stories of how much he enjoys his. I still don’t know that I could justify buying one. I worry that it will be one of those purchases that you use a bunch for a while and then it would never come out of the case again. I think I’d have to be seriously making videos before I’d consider it again. What struck me the other day is that it turns out he uses his drone for still photography, not the standard flying videos. Beautiful landscape photos, just from a much different angle/perspective. I like that sort of thinking out of the box. It shows that just when you think everything in photography (or any other art form) has been done, someone comes along and thinks about things differently.


  • Semi related to the supply chain crisis, but for different reasons… If you are not into shooting sports you may not realize this, but guns and ammo are currently non-existent. Ammo that I used to buy for $300 a case is now $1,500 a case in the rare occasion you can actually find it. I was at a large sporting goods store the other day and their gun cases were empty. The manager said that they get 5-7 guns in a day, and they sell them the same day. The population is worried. Gun and ammo sales spike with unrest and uncertainty. I’ve never seen this level of shortages before. I’m not entirely sure what it means… but it’s probably not a good sign.

  • I recently watched a MasterClass by Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. I’m not a guitar player, but I thoroughly enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how the songs were created, his influences, and what it’s like to be a performer. I’d encourage giving it watch, even if that sort of music isn’t your cup ‘o tea.

Song of the day: Knife Party & Tom Morello – Battle Sirens (Live Version)